My biggest mistake? That’s easy. It was an artificial planet build in an earth-type orbit off of Lambda Ceti for harvesting space-time waves. After the space-time waves fluctuation ended the economy went bust and the native population went feral. A few generations later they rediscovered some of the rudiments of civilization, realized their planet was artificial, located the distress beacon and sent out a call for help.
I was a free lancer working for the Ceti-Perseus clusters department of education. They sent me a short file about the locals. It seemed they worshiped a being called Zophrastus King of Time — perhaps a corruption of the knowledge that long ago their great-great-grandparents had become rich base on the economy of space-time fluctuations, and that indeed their world had been constructed in order to make a killing based on this economy. I dressed as the emissary of Zophrastus, had a little cosmetic surgery to get his iconic helical earlobes and made descent with much Hollywood thunder and flashing lights.
“It is I Zophrastus! Come with a message for you.”
“What is it great one? We must know for we know well how we have gone astray. Perhaps it is too complicated for our simple minds.”
“No it is not.”
They waited. I ascended a mountain and spoke through a mega-maxi-micro-phone.
“Stop having sex with dogs! Dogs are not for sex! The dog is a companion animal. But do not turn to him for your love-making! It is wrong!”
Their religious, political, entertainment and business leaders prostrated themselves at my feet. Finally one approached me groveling “But oh Time King we want to! We really like having sex with dogs!”
“You can’t! It’s wrong!”
“But it provides emotional succor for us in the face of an often terrifying and lethal reality.”
“Tough and I’m sorry. You will have to make do some other way.” And to sweeten the blow I gave them certain technological advances they had forgotten –agriculture, fire, the John Deer plow, UHF television and the like.
I didn’t think about that system for a long time. I got involved in first teaching remedial education to a moon full of insane gods, and then later curriculum development for hive-minds that were trying to become democracies without succumbing to schizophrenia. Then looking through my email inbox I came across a report by an intergalactic social worker (Roton Tamspaquilify) that the artificial planet was doing none too well.
I made a quick visit on my way to the remedial god planet which was doing quite well making little handicrafts and such. I found the planet was occupied by only a few extremely old people. I told them that I was the being who had posed as their Time King long ago and wanted to know what had gone wrong.
“Oh Time king we followed your advice regarding sex with dogs and babies stopped coming. Now we are the pitiful remnants you see before you.”
“Hang on — what do you mean by dogs? Show me a picture of a dog.”
And they showed me pornographic magazines from the old days showing humans in the state of sexual arousal, male and female.
“Whoops” I said. “My bad. Before I started preaching to you I think we should have taken a moment to define our terms.”